Dakar 440

Here's some photo's of Barry Chantler's Dakar 440. Basically its a 440 Chrysler big block (Mopar) as fitted to 60/70's muscle cars, this uses a Torqueflyte TF727 which bolts straight up to the LT230 - because landrover used the same box on their 1980's range rover classics.

It was this car that I saw at a show over ten years ago - and I thought "I must have one". Its been sat unloved for several years and no longer runs. Ive been asked to get the engine sorted, then it will be refurbished for future kit shows etc.

Apart from that massive engine, the rest of the driveline is standard. Although it has to be said, its hardly been used since it was built.

You may also notice that it has nitrous fitted to it - this have never been used. If its anything like my Dakar, that engine is plenty power for it.

Its unique feature is the flip front; The body has been especially reinforced around the area of the cut - and its not a straight cut, they have actually made lips that dovetail into one another.

30/7/07 Stripdown:

Once the heads were off, the pistons were very oily - I suspected stuck rings, but they were fine.

But the big ends were shot:

After removing one Main bearing cap in-situ - I decided the best option was to pull the motor for a full inspection:

That's a weight of my nose!

And indeed the mains were shot also:

So full stripdown, clean and rebuild is required:

Rebuild 3rd Oct

Spent the last week or so, slowly rebuilding the bottom end. Because the block was so nice and shiny, each bit needed cleaning and painting before refitting. The sump had about 1/2" of thick grease like goo in the sump that took considerable cleaning - then I resprayed it. Bottom end had new shells and rings, everything is std size.

Bores were just honed, marginal but acceptable.

Sump has been heavily modified from the original (only the top lip is original) - Presumably to clear the front axle.

My homemade parts washer has been busy.

My son loves helping!

Just cleaned the valves up and fitted new stem seals.

I checked that the timing marks are correct with a dial-gauge. Brand-new melling HV pump fitted also.


, Engine complete and refitted, ancillaries now being cleaned,painted and refitted.


A few more steps on. Radiator back in, all fluid lines cleaned and refitted. Exhausts back on. Once that was done, several hours of trying to reverse engineer the wiring to work out where everything is supposed to go. The starter relay was wired completely wrongly and many of the connectors were loose and corroded. Engine will now crank and I get a spark if i spin the dizzy round - so good progress.


The Holley 4150 carb was rebuilt using a barry grant rebuild kit - quite straightforward, just time consuming to get all the old gaskets removed.

He he, Last time I stripped a holley carb down I turned into something much more useful - Bloody carbs, they really are a crock of shit.

Anyway here is the money shot, before and after:


Nitrous kit stripped, cleaned and refitted (I tested all the solenoids and they work - despite never being used)

Rocker covers are a fashion disaster - blame Steve for that. They will be blue.). Inlet manifold came out well though.

Carb back on, drained all the old fuel out the tank also. Oil system primed with electric drill - reveals oil pressure gauge and warning light didn't work.


Another afternoon in the shed. Igntion leads were cleaned and new boots fitted. Then more electrical problems that needed looking at.

Here's the list of electric problems ive fixed:

Starter relay

Oil Warning light didn't work

front loom connector broken and coroded

Oil pressure gauge didn't work

Battery charge light didn't work

Battery terminal posts missing

Battery earths all bad, temporily fixed - waiting for a delivery of wire and connectors

Circuit to bypass the ballast resistor during cranking

Igntion system rewire

25/11/2007 Its finished.

Well its all back together and runs. Neighbours came out within 30 seconds to complain - but it was worth it. In all, took 85 hours to complete this project. Look forward to seeing the rest of it fully restored.



Unfortunately this car was involved in a tragic accident which killed the owner of Dakar Designs & Conversions (Steve Bennett).  My thoughts are with his partner Tory and their respective families.